I am quite an opinionated person, and in my youth, I may have been accused of having an “I am right and everyone else is wrong” attitude to life. 50 odd years down the track, I have finally realised that this is a pretty ineffective approach as in reality, I am rarely right, but at the same time neither is anyone else! Accepting that there is no right way to approach a problem has made life much easier and made me, I believe, more effective in most things I do.
Understanding the team
I have done a few psychometric tests in my time and used other tools to try to understand how to work more effectively. But the one that has stuck in my mind is Meredith Belbin’s study on team dynamics. In short, it categorises people into one of 9 roles within a team and suggests that to be effective, a team should contain all 9. I am now of the opinion that whilst useful, the idea that people fit into neat pigeon holes does not play out in reality. That said, the idea that having a mix of approaches when tackling a task does have significant merit.
Recognising the value of different
In managing a team, whether formally or informally when approaching a task. The real skill is not in knowing how to succeed on your own, it’s more about teasing out the ideas of the team, and focussing these into a strategy and plan that will complete the task.
Coming back to my original point about no one being 100% right about anything. In a team, different people will approach the task in different ways, the skill of a team manager is to identify which elements add value, and to combine these into a whole solution, whilst at the same time uniting the team behind a common approach.
The folly of focussing on your own approach.
Why, if this is the best way to approach an issue, is so much energy expended by leaders trying to convince everyone to do it their way? Persuading people to do it your way may seem like a fulfilling way to approach a problem, but as the saying goes “No man is an island”. Understanding this and accepting other ideas may be as valid, or, perish the thought, BETTER, than yours, is a good place to start.